Open Letter to German Academia

We are deeply concerned to learn that the Zentrum für Türkeistudien und Integrationsforschung (ZfTI) in Essen is sponsoring a panel discussion on 13 June 2019 on the integration of refugee academics and students into Turkish higher education, and that it will do so in collaboration with the Turkish Council of Higher Education (YÖK).

A similar event was scheduled to be held on 11 June 2019 at the Brunei Gallery in the United Kingdom. Due to opposition from the international academic community, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) cancelled its hosting of the event (Source: https://academicboycottofturkey.wordpress.com/news/). Like the event in Essen, the panel discussion was planned in collaboration with YÖK, as one of a series of events organised to promote YÖK’s purported role in supporting refugee academics and students.

Established by the military junta in 1982, YÖK has played a key role in the harassment and dismissal of thousands of Turkish university faculty and staff, a role it has conducted under the direction of the Turkish government. The title of the event planned at ZfTI in Essen, ‘Carrying the Academic Heritage to the Future: Refugee Integration through Higher Education: Policies and Measures’, is thus both cynical and deeply troubling.

It is our hope that The University of Duisburg-Essen, as an internationally renowned institution which provides crucial support for persecuted scholars through the Academy in Exile, will not collaborate with an organisation that has been so detrimental to academic freedom.

Scholars at Risk, Human Rights Watch, and the Committee on Academic Freedom of Middle East Studies Association (MESA) of North America have all documented the severe violation of academic freedom in Turkey and reported on the Turkish government’s campaign against teaching and administrative staff and students. Since the July 2016 attempted coup d’etat, nearly 6000 university personnel have been dismissed and 15 universities closed. Most of their these individuals are permanently barred from employment in the public sector, and their passports have been confiscated. More shockingly, since 2016, almost 70,000 students have been jailed.

In January 2016, a group of 2212 academics have been specifically targeted for signing a petition requesting that Turkey return to the peace process. Hundreds of these academics have been either dismissed or forced to resign; dozens of graduate students have lost their scholarships or assistantships, and many are subjected to intimidation or threats at their universities. YÖK, together with the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (TÜBİTAK) and the university chancellors, was directly involved in these purges and in the measures taken against students. The signatories of the peace petition have been removed from journal boards; they have been excluded from publications that are fully or partially funded by TÜBİTAK; many have been recalled to Turkey while abroad on visiting scholar positions; numerous scholars have been removed or banned from TÜBİTAK-funded projects.

Since 2016, hundreds of academics had to leave Turkey and they are forced into living in exile in different countries abroad. YÖK, together with TÜBİTAK, has not only helped carry out the government’s attacks on academics, but also legitimised them.

For this reason, we assert that any claim to protect the academic heritage in the Middle East by a country where thousands of academics are being arbitrarily dismissed, sentenced to jail terms, jailed, and forced into exile merely because of their alleged political views and without due legal process, is at best insincere.

We thus entreat The University of Duisburg-Essen to join us in denouncing the panel discussion to be held at ZfTI on 13 June 2019 and to reaffirm its commitment to defending academic freedom.

12 June 2019
Academics for Peace – Germany

IIE-SRF Fellowships for Threatened Scholars

Applications due July 1, 2019: Apply Now

There are more threatened and displaced scholars today than ever before. The Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) can help.

IIE-SRF announces a July 1st deadline for its next round of applications from professors and researchers facing threats to their lives or careers. Fellowships support temporary academic positions at universities and other higher education institutions anywhere in the world where the scholars can continue their academic work in safety.

IIE-SRF formalizes IIE’s unwavering commitment to protect the lives, voices, and ideas of scholars around the globe. Since the program’s founding in 2002, it has awarded fellowships to over 800 scholars from 59 countries, arranging visiting academic positions at more than 400 partner institutions in 45 countries.

Can Dündar zu Gast bei der Universität Duisburg-Essen

Der Journalist Can Dündar, der seit dem gescheiterten Putschversuch 2016 im Exil in Deutschland lebt, wird Dr. Ahmet Ünalans Seminar “Moderne Türkeistudien: Geschichte, Politik, Gesellschaft der Türkei und Deutschland, türkisch-europäische Beziehungen” besuchen und zu aktuellen politischen und gesellschaftlichen Entwicklungen in der Türkei referieren.  Studierende sowie Kolleginnen und Kollegen sind eingeladen, am Seminar teilzunehmen und sich mit Can Dündar kritisch auszutauschen. Der Vortrag und die anschließende Diskussion finden in türkischer Sprache statt. 

Wir bitten um Anmeldungen bis zum 7.5.2019 über die folgende E-Mail-Adresse:  sekretariat.turkistik@uni-due.de 

Die Veranstaltung findet am 9. Mai 2019, 10 Uhr c.t. im Glaspavillion R12 S00 H12 auf dem Campus Essen statt.

Finding Common Solutions: Precarious Labour and the Lack of Diversity in German Higher Education

This joint workshop organized by the Academic for Peace Germany and the union GEW Hessen in collaboration with the Department of Sociology at the Goethe University Frankfurt brings together scholars, activists and unionists from different backgrounds to facilitate discussion about the situation of precarious knowledge workers, common problems and common solutions. Click here for more information.

The workshop takes place on 24 – 25 May 2019 in Frankfurt (Main).

Please register via e-mail to geschaeftsfuehrung@gew-hessen.de by May, 17th, 2019

Open Letter from U.S. and Global Sociologists in Support of Brazilian Sociology Departments

On April 25th, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, along with his Minister of Education, Abraham Weintraub, declared the government’s intent to “decentralize investments in philosophy and sociology” within public universities, and to shift financial support to “areas that give immediate returns to taxpayers, such as veterinary science, engineering, and medicine.”

As professors, lecturers, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and other scholars in sociology and related disciplines at colleges and universities in the United States and worldwide, we write to declare our unwavering support for continued funding for sociology programs at Brazilian universities. We oppose President Bolsonaro’s attempt to disinvest in sociology, or any other program in the humanities or social sciences.

Click here to read more and sign the petition

28th Democracy & Diversity Graduate Summer Institute

Reclaiming Democratic Performatives: Actors, Spaces, Processes

The Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS) is happy to announce our 28th annual Democracy & Diversity Graduate Institute to be held at The New School summer campus in Wroclaw, Poland, July 9-25, 2019.  Widely admired as an intimate international forum for lively but rigorous debate on critical issues of democratic life, the D&D Institute brings an interdisciplinary, comparative, and highly interactive approach to the social, political, and cultural challenges facing today’s world.

A number of scholarships for students from Eurasia (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Belarus) & students from Turkey is available.

For more information click here